10 Ways to Stay Productive While WFH During COVID-19
High Tide has been remote since day one. Our goal has always been to put our client’s money towards their projects, not towards our overhead. We’ve been seeing a lot of posts about the struggles and stresses of working from home, so we compiled our top 10 tips.
Top 10 Tips to Stay Productive While WFH During COVID-19:
- Close Social Media Tabs: Have you realized that the blinking message sign from Facebook is almost begging you to check it? That’s sort of the point… don’t tempt yourself with social media. Close windows on your computer and put a time cap on your phone (we recommend starting with 30-45 minutes less than what you’ve been spending and weening yourself down from there). You can also use a monitoring app for reinforcement.
iPhones have an app called “Screentime” that shows how much time you’ve spent on each app while Andriod users have an app called “Digital Wellbeing” that allows you to see how long you’ve spent on an app, and add time caps. If you feel more comfortable with a third-party app, SelfControl is a good one. They block distracting websites until the time limit you set is up.
- Keep Your Morning Routine: Do you have a morning routine? Keep the same schedule. Wake up at the same time and plan to ‘leave for work’ at the same time. Not only does this make it easier to transition between your relaxation mode and your working mode, but it will also make it easier to go back to work once COVID-19 becomes a thing of the past.
It’s also beneficial to separate your relaxing and morning routine areas from your work areas to help promote productivity. However, if your kitchen table doubles as your workspace (we are not judging you), try taking a few minutes after your morning routine to stretch, walk around (maybe change into work clothes) and sit back down with your ‘ready to work’ mindset.
- Write a Daily/Weekly To-Do List: To-do lists are great for two reasons. 1) they help you keep track of daily tasks and prioritize them and 2) if you’re having a hard time feeling productive because you’re at home, they can provide a tangible measure of productivity.
Start out every morning by asking yourself “What do I need to accomplish today?”. Put a checkbox next to each task and prioritize them. Ask yourself questions like “What needs to be done first?”, “What takes the most amount of time?”, and “When can I schedule a lunch break?” Start with the hardest/top priority tasks and work your way through.
At the end of the day, look back on your to-do lists and ask “Did I get as much done as I wanted to?” If the answer is no, roll some tasks over to the next to-do list and focus on being more proficient tomorrow.
- Set Timers: It’s a grade-school cliche, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t have some fun with it now that you’re an adult! Challenge yourself by estimating how much time a task will take you and then set a timer and try to beat your time. Sometimes a little competition against yourself is just what you need to crunch through a big to-do list. You may surprise yourself with how efficient you actually are.
If competitions aren’t really your thing, try working with the Pomodoro Technique. Set a timer for 25 minutes, and work straight through. When the time is up, give yourself a five-minute break. Rinse and repeat. Online timers like TomotoTimer or EggTimer will automatically do this for you.
- Don’t work with the TV On: Trust us, as much as you don’t think you will be distracted, you will be. If you’re really craving some TV time, work through your hardest/top priority tasks first and then leave the mindless tasks to complete in front of a TV show.
‘But I need some sort of noise to focus!’ If that is the case, try out an instrumental music station. You get sound, but no words (or drama) to distract you from your work. Try looking up “Focus” in Spotify and pick from any of their hundreds of playlists.
- Exercise: You’d be surprised at how often you get up to walk around the office to chit-chat with others on a normal workday. Your body ultimately craves those small breaks of movement and socialization to help keep you focused. Take five to ten minutes every once in a while to go for a walk and call a friend or family member. Just doing small workouts in your apartment and talking to your cat for a moment can give you body and brian enough of a break to stay productive all day.
- Make Your Workspace Comfortable: Get a nice chair to work from and put your laptop it a position where you aren’t looking down (this is where the kitchen table really gets you!), such as on a box or a bunch of books. This will make it so that you’re looking straight ahead instead of down. Your neck will thank you later. You can also try putting something soft (like a balance ball or a small pillow) underneath your seat, it’ll help your back and keep your hamstrings from getting too sore.
- Remember to Eat: Food = Energy, but we know that once you get into the zone, it may be hard to get back out. Set one an alarm on your phone to remind you to take a lunch break around the time you normally would at work. It’s important to keep a normal schedule in place so that it’s easier to transition back to it later. Lunch breaks also give your brain a break from work and provide an ample amount of time to catch up with your friends.
- Clean Your Workspace First: The most common complaint we hear from those working at home is that they get distracted by wanting to clean their house. Yes, that laundry pile DOES need to be taken care of but your work hours are not the right time to do it. If you feel the need to clean, focus on cleaning everything you can see from your workspace and your desk. Alternatively, move your workspace against a wall. Try to compartmentalize ‘after-work activities’ to keep them from becoming ‘during-work’ activities.
- Enjoy This Time: Try to make the most out of working from home. Listen to smooth jazz, work in comfortable clothes (not your pajamas, but something that is comfortable), wear a facemask while you work (unless you’re jumping on video calls), or use your breaks to talk to your family. If you no longer have a long commute to and from work, try using this extra time to cook nice meals to eat while working! Suddenly being told to stay home and work doesn’t have to cramp your productivity. Enjoy working from home.
Now that we’ve given you tips on how to work from home effectively during COVID-19, let’s talk about the underlying issue that most of us are struggling with. Working from home is one thing, but feeling isolated from society is totally different.
We have seen a few posts circulating that talk about taking this time to self-care, but there are a lot of us out there that might not know what that looks like. We compiled a list of six ways to combat loneliness during COVID-19.